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May 2007

ReadingGroupGuides.com Newsletter

May 2007

This Month on ReadingGroupGuides.com

My Kind of Travel: Bookish Travel

Special Contest: Win The NEW Book From Khaled Hosseini, the Author of THE KITE RUNNER --- A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS

Now Available in Paperback: WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen

BACK ON BLOSSOM STREET by Debbie Macomber

THE WEDDING OFFICER by Anthony Capella

BLACK & WHITE by Dani Shapiro

THE ROPE WALK by Carrie Brown

RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES by Ellen Shanman

Now Available in Paperback: THE LOVE SEASON by Elin Hilderbrand

THE HINDI-BINDI CLUB by Monica Pradhan

SAVING THE WORLD by Julia Alvarez

Now Available in Paperback: CELLOPHANE by Marie Arana

FRENCH BY HEART by Rebecca S. Ramsey

90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN by Don Piper

New Guides Now Available

On ReadingGroupGuides.com
 
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Answer the ReadingGroupGuides.com Poll Read the I FEEL BACK ABOUT MY NECK discussion guide. Read our Interviews with Book Clubs here

My Kind of Travel: Bookish Travel

My last month was a whirlwind of bookish travel. I spent 11 days at various book conventions which I am calling: 11 Days, 3 Cities, Dozens of Authors. It truly was a wonderful experience for a booklover. Some women love spas; I love book-related travel. Along the way at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival I had the pleasure of catching up with Lisa See, an author who I know is a favorite of many of yours. She wrote Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and her new book Peony in Love will be in stores next month. It was great to share my early excitement for the book with her. I will be writing more about my adventures in my blog on Bookreporter.com later this week.

We are thrilled to be bringing you a very special contest this month --- an opportunity to win a copy of A Thousand Splendid Suns, the new book by Khaled Hosseini, the author of the mega-bestselling title, The Kite Runner. The book goes on sale on Tuesday, May 22nd. Our contest runs today through Tuesday, May 15th as we will do our best to have winners receive their copies by the on-sale date! Read more about this book and enter here. As part of our feature we have a terrific interview with Hosseini.

Our Poll this month asks about your group reading nonfiction titles. I am looking forward to seeing your replies as I am moderating a panel at Book Expo America, the book industry's annual convention, about Book Clubs Reading Nonfiction. Thus, besides taking our poll, if you have any thoughts about this, please write me at Carol@bookreporter.com. Our tip for May is that you "write a list of books that have meant something to you as a woman and share it with your fellow book club members" and for those thinking ahead to June we suggest you "talk about the books that you would want to share with a new graduate."

Our newsletter prize this month is Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber. To win 20 free copies of this book for your group, all you have to do is sign up for the ReadingGroupGuides.com newsletter by June 1, 2007. Not signed up? Click here.

Three groups wrote and shared questions for our First Interactive Guide for Nora Ephron's I Feel Bad About My Neck. Thank you to Susie Fintz from the Women of CBE Book Club, Sandra Bray of the Sister's Bookclub and Lois Hobart from the book club, Estrogen on Estes, in Chicago for their contributions. We appreciate them and we would love to hear feedback if your groups use these discussion questions during your meetings. You can see the guide here. The five winners of the SIX books from the Viking Flights of Fiction Contest and the gift basket of bookish goodies are Jenne from Denton, Texas, Kristin from Sammamish, WA,  Deborah from Greenfield, MA, Melinda from Montpelier, VA and Michele from Indian Trail, NC. Your prizes are going out this week!

Friday, May 18th we will be kicking off our Third Annual Summer Beach Basket of Books promotion on one of our other websites, Bookreporter.com. Keep your eyes peeled for that by bookmarking this page, or sign up for the Bookreporter.com newsletter here.

Wishing all the moms in our audience a Happy Mother's Day. May your families properly fete you and make some lovely memories on this day. Swinging in a hammock or on a porch swing reading is one of my lovely thoughts for Sunday. However, I still think it should be Mother's Day MONTH! Here's to some great reading.

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

Our book club interviews are with  The Bookies of Brainerd, MNStorie delle Sorrelle and Circle of Sisters. I love reading these interviews as they give me a moment to feel like I am visiting with the groups who we profile. If you would like your group to be profiled, please click here.

For May we have two very special opportunities for Registered Book Groups. Our featured titles are Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber and The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan. Registered groups have the chance to win author chats and free books. Click here for more information.

Click here for details about our Newsletter Contest.


 
Amazon.com Find a list of Coming Soon titles here. Find your local independent bookseller here.

Special Contest: Win The NEW Book From Khaled Hosseini, the Author of THE KITE RUNNER --- A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS

Readers are eager to get their hands on the new book from Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns, which will be in stores on Tuesday, May 22nd Between now and May 15th we are giving you and your book group the chance to win one of 25 copies of A Thousand Splendid Suns.
 
-Click here to enter.
 
Here's more about the book:
Propelled by the same superb instinct for storytelling that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love.

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them --- in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul --- they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman's love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

 
- Click here to read an interview with Khaled Hosseini.

-Click here to read our One to Watch feature for Khaled Hosseini and A Thousand Splendid Suns on Bookreporter.com.

Click here to read the guide for A Thousand Splendid Suns.


 

Now Available in Paperback: WATER FOR ELEPHANTS by Sara Gruen

As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. In Water for Elephants, the bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.


 

Click here to read the guide for Water for Elephants.
 

BACK ON BLOSSOM STREET by Debbie Macomber

In Back on Blossom Street, a group of disparate women draw the strength to face their respective crises from the friendship and support they find through their knitting class. Quill Book Award-winning author Macomber welcomes back some familiar faces and introduces delightful new characters in a return to Seattle’s Blossom Street --- the setting of her New York Times bestselling books THE SHOP ON BLOSSOM STREET, A GOOD YARN and CHRISTMAS LETTERS --- as she continues her moving exploration of the complex relationships among family and friends.

 

Click here to read the guide for Back on Blossom Street.


 

THE WEDDING OFFICER by Anthony Capella

In the sumptuous tradition of Chocolat and Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, and already optioned for a major motion picture, comes a magical tale of romantic passion, culinary delight --- and Italy.

In The Wedding Officer, Captain James Gould arrives in wartime Naples assigned to discourage marriages between British soldiers and their gorgeous Italian girlfriends. But the innocent young officer is soon distracted by an intoxicating young widow who knows her way around a kitchen...Livia Pertini is creating feasts that stun the senses with their succulence --- ruby-colored San Marzana tomatoes, glistening anchovies, and delectable new potatoes encrusted with the black volcanic earth of Campania --- and James is about to learn that his heart may rank higher than his orders. For romance can be born of the sweet and spicy passions of food and love --- and time spent in the kitchen can be as joyful and exciting as the banquet of life itself!

-Be sure to check out The Wedding Officer in our Bookreporter.com Summer Beach Bag of Books Contest --- kicking off May 18th!
 

 

Click here to read the guide for The Wedding Officer.
 

BLACK & WHITE by Dani Shapiro

Clara Brodeur has spent her entire adult life pulling herself away from her famous mother, the renowned and controversial photographer Ruth Dunne, whose towering reputation rests on the unsettling nude portraits she took of her young daughter from the ages of three to fourteen. The Clara Series, which graced the walls of museums around the world as well as the pages of New York City tabloids that labeled the work pornographic, cast a long and inescapable shadow over its subject. At eighteen, when Clara might have entered university and begun to shape an identity beyond her sensationalized, unsought role in the New York art world, she fled to the quiet obscurity of small-town Maine, where she married and had a child, a daughter whom she has tried to shield from the central facts of her early life and her damaging role as her mother’s muse.

Click here to read the guide for Black & White.
 

THE ROPE WALK by Carrie Brown

The Rope Walk brings us the dazzling story of a pivotal summer in the life of Alice, a redheaded tomboy and motherless girl who is beloved and protected by her five older brothers and her widower father, a professor of Shakespeare. On Memorial Day, at her tenth birthday party in the garden of her Vermont village home, Alice meets two people unlike any she’s known before. Theo is a mixed-race New York City kid visiting his white grandparents for the summer. Kenneth is a cosmopolitan artist with AIDS who has come home to convalesce with his middle-aged sister. Alice and Theo form an instant bond and, almost as quickly, find themselves drawn into the orbit of the magisterial Kenneth. When the children begin a daily routine of reading aloud to the artist, who is losing his eyesight, they discover the journals of Lewis and Clark and decide to embark on their own wilderness adventure: they plan and secretly build a “rope walk” through the woods for Kenneth and in the process learn the first of many hard truths about the way adults see the world, no matter that they are often wrong.

Click here to read the guide for The Rope Walk.


 

RIGHT BEFORE YOUR EYES by Ellen Shanman

Outspoken playwright Liza Weiler left Yale with everything she thought she needed to make her mark on the New York stage. So why, nearly a decade later, is she still waiting for her “real” life to finally begin? But like any great drama, Liza’s life only needs one good twist. In Right Before Your Eyes, that’s exactly what happens when she turns her ankle on the way out of a downtown nightspot and falls into the arms of a suspiciously gallant Wall Street prince and a practically perfect ER doc. Suddenly Liza not only has a couple of men in her life, but her play has fallen into the hands of a über-hip theater director. Now Liza’s about to discover how much mess she can make of a seemingly good thing…and how terrifying, slightly tragic, and utterly hilarious a little success can be.

Click here to read the guide for Right Before Your Eyes.
 

Now Available in Paperback: THE LOVE SEASON by Elin Hilderbrand

When Renata, newly engaged to a wealthy Nantucket summer boy, comes to the island to visit her fiance's family, she decides to confront her tragic past.  In The Love Season, Renata goes against her father's wishes and visits Marguerite, the godmother she's been forbidden to see her entire life --- the one person who can unlock the mystery surrounding her mother's untimely death. But Marguerite's life is not so simple and preparing dinner for her god-daughter proves much more complicated than either of them imagined.

Whether it is in her Nantucket detail, her insight into the emotional dramas that shape people's lives, the moments that define them, or the loves who rule them, Elin Hilderbrand's storytelling abilities soar to new heights with every novel she writes.

Click here to read the guide for The Love Season.
 

THE HINDI-BINDI CLUB by Monica Pradhan

For decades they have remained close, sharing treasured recipes, honored customs, and the challenges of women shaped by ancient ways yet living modern lives. They are The Hindi-Bindi Club, a nickname given by their American daughters to the mothers who left India to start anew --- daughters now grown and facing struggles of their own.


» Click here to read our One to Watch feature for Monica Pradhan and The Hindi-Bindi Club on Bookreporter.com.

Click here to read the guide for The Hindi-Bindi Club.
 

SAVING THE WORLD by Julia Alvarez

While Alma Huebert is researching a new novel, she finds her real story --- and her salvation --- in a little-known but staggering historical footnote: the Royal Expedition of the Vaccine. In 1803, Don Francisco Balmis embarked on a two-year sea voyage to rescue the New World from smallpox. Accompanying him were twenty-two orphan boys, acting as live carriers, and their guardian, Isabel Sendales y Gómez. As Alma digs deeper into Isabel's life, she finds her own power to commit an act as life-changing as Isabel's.

Click here to read the guide for Saving the World.
 

Now Available in Paperback: CELLOPHANE by Marie Arana

Don Victor Sobrevilla, a lovable, eccentric engineer, always dreamed of founding a paper factory in the heart of the Peruvian rain forest, and at the opening of this miraculous novel, his dream has come true–until he discovers the recipe for cellophane. In a life already filled with signs and portents, the family dog suddenly begins to cough strangely. A wild little boy turns azurite blue. All at once Don Victor is overwhelmed by memories of his erotic past; his prim wife, Doña Mariana, reveals the shocking truth about her origins; the three Sobrevilla children turn their love lives upside down; and the family priest blurts out a long-held secret.

Click here to read the guide for Cellophane.
 

FRENCH BY HEART by Rebecca S. Ramsey

French by Heart is the story of an all-American family pulling up stakes and finding a new home in Clermont-Ferrand, a city four hours south of Paris known more for its smoke-spitting factories and car dealerships than for its location in the Auvergne, the lush heartland of France dotted with crumbling castles and sunflower fields. The Ramseys are not jet-setters; they’re a regular family with big-hearted and rambunctious kids. Quickly their lives go from covered-dish suppers to smoky dinner parties with heated polemics, from being surrounded by Southern hospitality to receiving funny looks if the children play in the yard without shoes.
 

Click here to read the guide for French by Heart.


 

90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN by Don Piper

On the way home from a conference, Don Piper's car was crushed by a semi-truck that crossed into his lane. Medical personnel said he died instantly. While his body lay lifeless inside the ruins of his car, Piper experienced the glories of heaven, awed by its beauty and music. 90 minutes after the wreck, while a minister prayed for him, Piper miraculously returned to life on earth with only the memory of inexpressible heavenly bliss. His faith in God was severely tested as he faced an uncertain and grueling recovery.

Click here to read the guide for 90 Minutes in Heaven.
 

New Guides Now Available

The following guides are now available on ReadingGroupGuides.com:

Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber
Bank by David Bledin
Black & White by Dani Shapiro
French by Heart by Rebecca S. Ramsey
The Hindi-Bindi Club by Monica Pradhan
The Love Season by Elin Hilderbrand
The New Yorkers by Cathleen Schine
The Overlook by Michael Connelly
Right Before Your Eyes by Ellen Shanman

The Rope Walk by Carrie Brown
Saving the World by Julia Alvarez
The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo by Peter Orner
The Wedding Officer by Anthony Capella
What to Eat by Marion Nestle

Please note that these titles, for which we already had the guides when they appeared in hardcover, are now available in paperback:

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson
Cellophane by Marie Arana
The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld
Once Upon A Day by Lisa Tucker
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

We have the following new guides for Christian book groups:

90 Minutes in Heaven by Don Piper with Cecil Murphey
The Organic God by Margaret Feinberg
Over Her Head by Shelley Bates






 


Do you like what you see here, and want to forward it to a friend? Then click our link on the bottom of the page to do just that!

Happy reading. We'll see you next month.

Don't forget to visit our other websites from TheBookReportNetwork.com:


Bookreporter.com, AuthorsOnTheWeb.com, FaithfulReader.com, AuthorYellowPages.com, Teenreads.com, and Kidsreads.com.

Carol Fitzgerald (Carol@bookreporter.com)

The Book Report Network
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